Thursday, October 12, 2017

After 3 days of talks in Cairo, Hamas and Fatah announce that they have reached a new national reconciliation agreement. They do not release the text of the agreement, but according to Palestinian and Egyptian officials close to the talks, the PA is set to lift the sanctions imposed on Gaza earlier this year and Hamas agreed to hand over control of Gaza to the PA by 12/1, inter alia. Egypt’s State Information Service releases a statement announcing that the 2 sides have “agreed on procedures” for reconciliation, acknowledging that “division between the 2 sides” remains. The statement says Cairo will host a follow-up meeting on 11/21. (AFP, HA, MDW, MNA, NYT, PNN, TOI, WAFA, YA 10/12)

Thousands of Palestinians gather in the streets of Gaza City to celebrate the Palestinian reconciliation deal. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Bayt Lahiya, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, IDF troops violently disperse Palestinian youths throwing stones at them outside a settlement near Hebron (there are no serious injuries), and patrol near Hebron during the day. In East Jerusalem, hundreds of Israeli settlers march through the Old City, chanting slogans, throwing rocks, and smashing car windows. They assault and moderately injure a Palestinian shop-owner. Israeli forces arrest 4 Palestinian youths who attempt to stop the settlers’ attacks. Israeli forces also impose a curfew on Issawiyya and arrest 1 Palestinian driving in the neighborhood. They arrest another Palestinian during a raid in Shu‘fat. (REU 10/13; PCHR 10/19)

The U.S. State Dept. announces that the U.S. is withdrawing from UNESCO. “This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects [. . .] continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO.” The withdrawal goes into effect at the end of 2018. Shortly after the State Dept.’s announcement, Israeli PM Netanyahu’s office announces that Israel is following the “brave and moral” U.S. decision and leaving UNESCO as well. (EI, HA, NYT, TOI, YA 10/12; MNA 10/13)